7 Dec 2018 | 5 min Read
Author | 1380 Articles
A newborn’s immune system is underdeveloped and still quite weak at the time of birth, which can put them at a greater risk for infections. Therefore, immunisation should be an unavoidable practice and new parents must get mandatory vaccines that are earmarked for newborns. These vaccines reduce your little one’s risk of infection by working with their body’s natural defences to help safely develop immunity to disease.
The MR vaccine is one of them. MR vaccine’s full form is Measles-Rubella vaccine and it is different from the MMR vaccine, which is a two-dose injected inoculation that protects against mumps, measles and rubella. Here’s everything you need to know about the MR vaccine and why its crucial to not miss it.
As you know, measles and rubella are infectious diseases. While measles can cause fever, runny nose, cough, stomach problems, pneumonia, ear infections, brain damage, and convulsions; Rubella can cause fever, sore throat, rash, headache, along with eye irritation. It can also cause arthritis in up to half of teenage and adult women.
The MR vaccine is administered to prevent children from measles and rubella, and are given in two doses at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age. However, if the child misses the scheduled dose, MR vaccine can be given till 5 years of age.
According to a National Library of Medicine (NLB) report, the cost per dose of the MR campaign ranges from US$0.16 (INR 10.95) in UP to US$0.34 (INR 24.13) in Gujarat.
While these vaccines are administered to newborns, the disease-specifically Rubella-can still be passed on from an infected mother to an unborn child in the form of Congenital Rubella Syndrome.
Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) refers to a set of serious congenital defects in a newborn when an expecting mum is diagnosed with rubella in her early pregnancy, usually in the first trimester. The child born can also be blind, deaf and have heart defects, mental retardation and liver disorder.
It is advisable for expecting mothers to take the shot before conception in addition to also getting other important vaccinations during pregnancy.
The MR vaccine is an effective vaccine and has been in use for over 40 years in many countries across the world. It usually gives lifelong protection in most of the children. Two doses of MR vaccine protects the child from both diseases.
A combined vaccine of measles and rubella does not lead to any loss of efficacy of either vaccine. Its efficacy remains the same as when administered separately.
Administered worldwide under the RI program and through MR vaccination campaigns, the MR vaccine is safe. Millions of children have been vaccinated with this vaccine safely all around the world.
MR vaccination side effects aren’t serious. Like with any other vaccine, there might be mild pain and redness at the injection site, fever, rash and muscle aches, and the doctor might recommend taking paracetamol in case of fever.
It is advisable to use full quantity of supplied diluent for reconstitution of the MR vaccine. (for 10 dose MR diluent bundled with the vaccine). This is intended to take care of the unavoidable vaccine wastage that occurs due to:
Hence, it is important to draw the entire amount of diluent from the ampoule to reconstitute MR vaccine.
MR campaign is a special campaign that aims to vaccinate all children of 9 months to 15 years with one dose of MR vaccine (MR 1 vaccine). Its goal is to vaccinate all children to reduce cases and deaths from measles and disabilities from CRS.
All the eligible children will be vaccinated at:
Children who have completed 9 months of age and are below 15 years of age regardless of previous vaccination status with measles/ rubella vaccine and exposure in the past will be vaccinated. Malnourished children along with children with mild respiratory infection, and diarrhoea will be given the MR injection.
It is advisable to not vaccinate any child having:
In addition, if a child is hospitalised, he/ she should not be administered the MR vaccine.
According to medical reports, measles kills nearly 49,200 children every year in India. Rubella too can cause health hazards, especially to pregnant mums as it can lead to Congenital Rubella Syndrome. Since, there is not enough evidence to suggest that mumps is a disease of public health importance, MR vaccine is being introduced instead of the MMR vaccine.
However, there is also no harm in receiving an MR vaccine after having received complete MMR vaccination.
The first phase of the MR vaccine campaign was successfully completed during February 2017 in five states, namely, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Lakshadweep and Puducherry. Plus, more than 3.3 crore children were vaccinated, reaching out to 97% of the intended age group. The next round was taken up in 8 states/ UTs during August 2017.
In order to achieve maximum coverage during the campaign, several stakeholders have been involved like the Indian Association of Paediatrics, Indian Medical Association, and Civil Society Organisations.